To Loc or not to Loc

 

The best part about creating stories is the layers. When writing about a sun and a moon, I didn’t expect to challenge any standard. I simply wanted to find the best personifications.

What I came up with was a woman with vitiligo and a man with dreadlocks. I’m aware the sun and moon have been created time and time again. Interestingly enough, I didn’t find any with these two quality traits, and why not? I’ve noticed that maybe it’s because these physical traits still have really negative attributes. Even the term ‘dreads’ has such a negative connotation, that the better term to use was locs.

I received a lot of criticism for letting my sun character have a “Rastafarian” hairstyle. I was heavily suggested to give him a mohawk or straight hair instead. Any of these could have worked. I rarely see dreadlocks, and for my character that was calm, easy going, and overall happy: it was a perfect match.

So I did locs anyway.

A Little History

Dreadlocks were first mentioned around 2500 BC, worn by the Indian deity Shiva. This god’s role was to destroy the universe in order to re-create it, so he was as benevolent as he was malevolent.

Shiva-in-meditation-with-dreadlocks-1000x666-72

It started as an expression for a lack of vanity or to signify no attachment to worldly possessions.

Egyptian pharaohs also wore dreadlocks. This was shown in tomb carvings and drawings. Even the mummy of Queen Ahmose-Nofretari (ruled from 1570-1546 BC) was found with her locs in tact.

nofretari

Starting in the 1930’s was the rise of the Rastafari Movement. Locs were grown for SEVERAL reasons:

  • Marcus Garvey preached Black empowerment and advocated for Blacks to return to Africa
  • to ode the biblical Samson, who was believed to be a Nazarite with locs. If, like Samson, hair was cut then so was their strength. Leviticus 21:5 “They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard nor make any cuttings in their flesh”
  • Locs symbolized the mane of a lion, which was given to all Ethiopian Kings. A soft reference to the Lion of Judah.
FotorCreatedMarcus Garvey & Bob Marley: two huge figures that brought a lot of attention to locs during the 20th century.

Throughout history, there is a continuous flow of where dreadlocks have been a part of most civilizations. There isn’t one origin story for dreadlocks, but several. The “why” tended to have a common thread: to be free.

I’ve only skimmed the surface, but there is so much more to learn. Ebony and Refinery29 have done incredible articles talking in-depth about dreadlocks as a whole.

Why shouldn’t my character have dreadlocks again?

Vice did an interesting article asking Caucasians why they decided to have dreadlocks. All of them had different reasons (for an easier lifestyle, always wanted it, or as a sign of rebellion). Gregory, one of the Caucasians interviewed,  mentioned, “I just think comments like “dreads are for black people only” are the opposite of cultural progression.”

Anyone has a right to have dreadlocks because they are a part of everyone’s past.

 

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